Books for Gay and Lesbian Youth

A list of books for sexual minority youth, their allies, supporters and caregivers

All books listed here can be purchased from by following the links. Those showing a "look inside" arrow include excerpts that can be read from the Amazon web pages - just follow the links to the main page for the book.

Great Fiction For GBLT Teens

Am I Blue? Coming Out From The Silence edited by Marion Dane Bauer. Originally published in 1994, this classic colletion of short stories is still current in its themes and the issues it presents. Offers insightful answers to problems facing gay and lesbian youth, presenting them in an entertaining manner. A great collection and a wonderful read. It's a terrific introduction to gay youth literature.
Deliver Us From Evie by M. E. Kerr, is a classic novel about a lesbian teen who faces the intolerance of a Christian farm family in the Midwestern U.S. It's a lesbian love story that doesn't end in the usual disaster - no car crashes, no sin, no victims. It is just a fast-paced story that is gripping in its emotional appeal to young lesbians. A classic originally published in 1994.
Rainbow Boys by Robert Sanchez is an important new novel that touches on the problems (and in many cases, solutions) to the problems that young gay men face in coming out in today's society. Yet the novel is well drawn, and it will pull the reader into the lives and drama of the characters' dilemmas. It's a great read, not just for gay youth but straight youth as well, who are supportive and want to understand how their gay friends deal with life.
Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden is one of the great classics of gay youth literature (originally published in 1982). Sweetly sensitive, yet realistic, it helps young lesbians understand and reaffirm their feelings and reinforce their self-worth. This book got great reviews when it was first released, and its value and deep appeal has stood the test of time - one of those rare books that remains so popular it is still in print twenty years after it was first published.
Substitute For Love by Karen Kallmaker. This book about a young lesbian, closeted to herself as well as the world, discovering love in her first real romance to another young woman. It talks about the struggles that discovery will inevitably cause. It was nominated for several awards, and rightly so - destined to become a classic in its own right.
Metes and Bounds by Jay Quinn, is an unusual novel about a young gay country boy from the midwest who discovers himself amidst the world of surfers and sea, construction sites and surfing piers in North Carolina. Told in the first person, like someone living it would really tell it, it's a story that gay men can really identify with - and that makes it particularly gripping for young gay men.
At Swim, Two Boys: A Novel by Jamie O'Neil was a book subject to a great deal of hype when it was first published, but the hype was, surprisingly, deserved. This book is a historical novel, of two Irish teens discovering themselves and their sexuality on the beaches of Ireland in 1915, set against the background of the violence and disruption of the Easter Uprising of Dublin in that year.
Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley, is a very unusual novel. Written in a dreamy, almost detached style, it is the story of two teens struggling to painfully acknowledge their homosexuality as they hang on to their love for each other while their families and their lives fall apart around them. The book asks questions that encourage deep thinking about issues such as religion, child abuse, family and societal tolerance.

Helpful Non-Fiction Books

Books You'll Enjoy

Coming Out To Your Parents by Mary V. Borhek, is a book about things you need to understand and think about before you come out to your parents. Covers a lot of the same material of this site, but in much more detail.
Coming Out: An Act Of Love by Rob Eichberg, Ph.D. This is a book that gives a great deal of support to the idea that coming out can be an act of love for your parents. It discusses how, in doing so, you'll draw closer to your parents, and they'll understand you better. Written for closeted gay people of all ages, it is nevertheless an invaluable resource for gay teens.
Together Forever: Lesbian and Gay Couples Share Their Secrets For Lasting Happiness by Eric Marcus is a great book for lesbians and gay men who want to share their lives with that someone special. It tells the secrets weaving together a tapestry of love, sharing, friendship and intimacy that can build relationships that last for decades.
Lesbian Couples: A Guide to Creating Healthy Relationships by Marilee Clunis, Ph.D. and G. Dorsey Green, Ph.D. At last! A book that focuses specifically on building healthy relationships between lesbian partners. Work, money, coming out, transgender identity, butch-femme roles, etc., are all touched on by this pair of lesbian therapists. As Amazon's review says, "Surely there are couples who don't need books like this: blessed as they are with flawless unions, enduring passion, and equitable chore distributions, with never a sharp word, a demanding ex-lover, or a roving eye. The rest of us can consult Clunis and Green every 45 minutes."
Now That I'm Out, What Do I Do? by Brian McNaught is a great introduction to the gay community for gay youth. It will help you deal with family and friends, and help them understand you as you make your way in the gay world. It is particularly valuable for the gay person living in small or conservative towns.
Finding True Love in a Man-Eat-Man World by Craig Nelson is easily the best guide to dating and romance for gay men that I've read. A timeless classic that offers practical advice that is useful in the real world. This book was originally published in 1994, but it keeps getting reprinted simply because it is so good.
Mr. Right Is Out There: The Gay Man's Guide to Finding and Maintaining Love by Kenneth George. This book will help you avoid the common mistakes that gay men make in dating and maintaining relationships. At the core of his strategy is self-knowledge and self esteem - and this book helps you achieve both. Better than six months of serious therapy.

Books Primarily For Family And Friends

Is It A Choice? Answers to 300 Most Asked Questions About Gay And Lesbian People by Eric Marcus. This book will help you answer questions your friends and acquaintences will ask when you come out. It is a helpful book for giving your parents, too. It's written in a balanced, unbiased, calm and nonhysterical manner, that will help your parents and friends really begin to understand your situation.
When Someone You Know Is Gay by Susan and Daniel Cohen, is an excellent book to give your friends, when you're having trouble explaining what it's like to be gay. Out of print, but available used - click on the "see all used" link when the Amazon page loads.
Loving Someone Gay by Don Clark, Ph.D. is one of the best books you could ever give your parents. Written by a very sensitive gay psychologist who deals with parents of gay teens in his practice (and has for many years), it is written in an easy, gentle, accepting and loving way that captures the reader's interest and holds it. If you get only one book for your parents, this one should be it!
My Child Is Gay by Bryce McDougall, editor. This is a collection of stories written by parents about the experiences they faced in coming to terms with the revelation that they had a gay son or daughter. As one parent put it, "It brought me great comfort to know other parents went through the same kinds of feelings I did. I cried and yes laughed a little with each new story." A terrific companion to Loving Someone Gay (see book above).
Beyond Acceptance by Griffin, Wirth and Wirth. This is another great book for your parents. It is designed to help them gently into an acceptance of your situation, and then move beyond just acceptance, to where they'll advocate for you. It also has a lot of great information that will help them correct some of the misunderstandings they have about gay people.
Straight Parents, Gay Children by Robert A. Bernstein, is another book for parents. It is by the parent of a lesbian, who describes in great detail, and a very open and honest manner, his thought-processes as he went through the various stages of grief, shock, anger, acceptance and advocacy in understanding his own daughter.
What The Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel Helminiak, Ph.D., is a book whose title accurately describes the contents: written for those concerned about Biblical scripture that would seem to condemn homosexuality, Helminiak, a Biblical scholar himself, shows clearly that, of widely quoted scriptures (particularly in Romans and Leviticus), the usual interpretations are simply wrong!
Openly Gay, Openly Christian: How The Bible Is Really Gay Friendly by Rev. Samuel Kader. This book is for you if you're having trouble accepting your being gay and Christian at the same time. Many people have had their faith shored up and saved by this book.
The Church And The Homosexual by John J. McNeil, is a book for you to give your minister or any theologian who finds himself dealing with gay people. A book of thoroughgoing scholarship, it has turned around the attitude of many a minister and student of theology. Written in an accessible style, yet well-documented and thoroughly researched, it has stood the test of serious scholarly review and criticism.
If you haven't found what you're looking for on this list, I would suggest that you consider a keword search on Amazon. Try "Gay Youth" for starters. "Gay Youth Literature" is another good keyword search. Author's names from the books list above is also helpful - it can help you find a specific book you may be looking for. If you find something you think should be in the bibliography above, please, by all means, let me know! (Be sure to get the ASIN number from the location window in your browser, and copy and paste that in an email to me!) Thanks!
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copyright © 2002, Scott Bidstrup
revised 5/15/02